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Borges intro. recommendation? - Page 2

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Fictions is on order.
If he's as enjoyable as Calvino, who I like a lot, I'll be happy.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by King Francis View Post
Have you even read Invisible Cities, or The Non-Existent Knight? Borges is brilliant and fascinating, and his best stories are moving, but his work displays nothing like the comic genius of Calvino, who can provide humor, pathos, and profundity within a single work. His high good humor is most evident in, as the author himself put it, the tale of "an empty suit of armor that persuades itself it is a man and carries on through its own will-power."

Well, IMHO, I prefer Borges to Calvino. His work is simply pure genius, every last word of it. Umberto Ecco has made a career by plagiarising him. He may appear rigid, but there is a dry wit there. What he may attribute to his british side.

As for humour, "A universal history of infamy", and a lot of his essays, plus his collaborations with Adolfo Bioy-Casares showcase that side of his talent.

For someone starting though, I'd recommend either Fictions or the Aleph. Both are superb.

On a tangent, similar authors to Calvino and Borges but with a more apparent comical side are Raymond Queneau [Les fleurs bleues - The blue flowers and Zazie dans le metro - Zazie in the metro (adopted into a very surrealistic film by Louis Malle)], George Perec (La vie: Mode d'Emploi - Life: a user's manual), and of course anything by Thomas Pynchon.

A final footnote: Calvino, Queneau and Perec were all members of OuLiPo (Workshop of Potential Literature), a group of writers that were borrowing patterns from mathematics, chess, the Tarot etc to use as blueprints of their work. As did Borges with the labyrinth metaphor and Pynchon with science.

A useful online resource for those interested in that vein of literature is http://www.themodernword.com/
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJmanbearpig View Post
Any collection of his short stories should be a good place. I really want to get back into reading Borges and Calvino. If you like Borges you might also like a Serbian author named Danilo Kis.

Danilo Kis's "Dictionary of the Hazars" is a brilliant book. Structured as a dictionary, compiling the three different versions of the conversion of the Hazars into a monotheistic religion, as viewed by the christian, muslim and jewish point of view. His "Road to Constantinople", modeled after a Tarrot reading, I didn't enjoy so much though.

BTW, is there a name for this school of writing? With a lot of scholarly references, usually modeled on a structured pattern outside of conventional literature, usually mathematical or logical, yet the story has a strong surrealistic element which acts as a counterpoint to the logical formality of the structure.
post #19 of 27
Puig's Blood of Requited Love is a must read. Then on to Neruda's Book of Questions.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Modernist View Post
A useful online resource for those interested in that vein of literature is http://www.themodernword.com/

That's a great web site. Though I may be biased because I won one of their contests once; netted a free book.
post #21 of 27
I love Borges. I really like Calvino a lot, too, but Borges is a giant. Not sure why we have to pick one over the other. I will echo the suggestion to pick up all three Penguin collections.
post #22 of 27
Also try "Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi" - light entertainment, but great fun. Since this was a collaboration it is not a part of the Penguin collections.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Modernist View Post
Danilo Kis's "Dictionary of the Hazars" is a brilliant book. Structured as a dictionary, compiling the three different versions of the conversion of the Hazars into a monotheistic religion, as viewed by the christian, muslim and jewish point of view. His "Road to Constantinople", modeled after a Tarrot reading, I didn't enjoy so much though.

BTW, is there a name for this school of writing? With a lot of scholarly references, usually modeled on a structured pattern outside of conventional literature, usually mathematical or logical, yet the story has a strong surrealistic element which acts as a counterpoint to the logical formality of the structure.

Dictionary of the Khazars was written by Milorad Pavic. There are even male and female versions of the book that differ by a paragraph. I agree that it is very good.
post #24 of 27
^ DotK has been sitting on my shelf, staring at me, for more than two years, I think. I will get there.
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by milosh View Post
Dictionary of the Khazars was written by Milorad Pavic. There are even male and female versions of the book that differ by a paragraph. I agree that it is very good.

I stand corrected, thank you. I wonder why I mixed them up.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Modernist View Post
BTW, is there a name for this school of writing? With a lot of scholarly references, usually modeled on a structured pattern outside of conventional literature, usually mathematical or logical, yet the story has a strong surrealistic element which acts as a counterpoint to the logical formality of the structure.
borges-esque? borges-ian?
Quote:
Originally Posted by denimdestroyedmylife View Post
I will echo the suggestion to pick up all three Penguin collections.
I like having it all in one place, but the translations in the individual volumes are often better (a better read, that is) than the ones in the collections. The only answer is to consume more.
post #27 of 27
Rayuela

Pretty much all the conversation ends up here
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